The Book of Jakarta
A City in Short Fiction
Book type: Anthology
Published: 10 Dec 2020
A group of senior citizens set out to visit an amusement park for one last suicidal ride…
A wannabe influencer takes a driverless taxi through the streets of Jakarta, only to discover the destination she’s hurtling towards is now underwater...
A daughter despairs at her mother’s wish to leave the city forever, until she uncovers the dark secret behind it…
Made up of over 17,000 islands, Indonesia is the fourth most populous country on the planet. It is home to hundreds of different ethnicities and languages, and a cultural identity that is therefore constantly in flux. Like the country as a whole, the capital Jakarta is a multiplicity of irreducible, unpredictable and contradictory perspectives.
From down-and-out philosophers to roadside entertainers, the characters in these stories see Jakarta from all angles. Traversing different neighbourhoods and social strata, their stories capture the energy, aspirations, and ever-changing landscape of what is also the world’s fastest-sinking city.
Translated by Mikael Johani, Zoe McLaughlin, Shaffira Gayatri, Khairani Barokka, Daniel Owen, Paul Agusta, Eliza Vitri Handayani, Syarafina Vidyadhana, Rara Rizal and Annie Tucker.
This book has been published with the support of the British Council.
'Words are one of the most powerful ways in which to travel - so if you've ever fancied visiting the Indonesian capital, this book is an initial glimpse into its very heart.' - Bad Form Review
'Contrasting, poignant and sometimes shocking short stories.' - Wasafiri
'The collection of stories brings to the fore some sides of Jakarta that many Western tourists or business people would not normally see.' - TripFiction
'Many of these stories have so little in common with one another, serving to show just how ethnically, religiously, and politically varied Jakarta is. This city contains multitudes and it is beautiful.' - Books and Bao
'This is a collection that gently educates and enlarges perspectives without ever being overly didactic, and which brings together a common purpose without reducing the sprawling archipelago to homogeny or stereotype.' - Helen Vassallo, Translating Women
'The variation from the writers is incredibly diverse, the vibrant picture of Jakarta is mixed with the everyday mundane...' - The Literary Addict
'Together this collection gives us a tremendous sense of the multi-faceted nature of this city.' - Booker Talk
'I devoured most of the collection in a really short space of time and found myself totally absorbed' - Loz Lit
'In just over a hundred pages you will live Jakarta across its neighbourhoods and through time.' - Bandit Fiction
'Comma Press has given us an important insight into this archipelago from a very human perspective.' - Notes by Em
'The Book of Jakarta was such a well-written collection of short stories that left me wanting more.' - Where There's Ink There's Paper
Read 'All Theatre is False' by Afrizal Malna for FREE at Quince Magazine.
Read an article about the publication of the anthology, plus an interview with some of the contributors, in The Jakarta Post.
Read an interview by UK poet Matt Abbott with contributors Ratri Ninditya and Mikael Johani on Indonesia's literary landscape at The State of the Arts.
Read about some of the contributors' favourite Indonesian poets, and how poetry inspired their work for The Book of Jakarta, at Manchester Poetry Library.
Read a free extract from 'Grown-Up Kids' by Ziggy Zezsyazeoviennazabrizkie on The Comma Press Blog.
Translator Rara Rizal reads from Sabda Armandio Alif's story 'The Problem' for Translators Aloud.
Translator Khairani Barokka reads from Hanna Fransisca's story 'The Aroma of Shrimp Paste' for Translators Aloud.
Watch the virtual launch event for the anthology on our YouTube channel.
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